Piers Akerman – Saturday, July 16, 11 (05:43 pm)
IF Julia Gillard and Bob Brown want to waste more taxpayers’ money on an inquiry into the media, bring it on.
It’s a political stunt, of course.
I have long complained about the left’s argument problem. They don’t argue well. They are emotive. They are abusive. They are rarely factual. I posted an amateur series of videos on Che Guevarra a few years ago because lots of people don’t know who he is, but wear his picture on their T Shirts. They think that monster is some kind of hero. So I read from a lefty site (wikipedia) about the monster and collected pictures of his atrocities as well as his ‘achievements’ and posted the series in twelve parts. The abuse I got from people I believe to be Cuban sponsored is illustrative of the problem with argument from the left. They haven’t argued with the material. They have complained about my accent, my knowledge. My definition of monster. They have even argued the CIA did worse.
The truth is Gillard has not told us what she plans to do with the money she is taking from us. But we know it won’t help the identified issue of climate change.
Miranda Devine – Sunday, July 17, 11 (01:37 am)
GREENS leader Bob Brown is now in an unprecedented position of power. As minority government partner, he is taking the country down a path it has never been and which most Australians don’t like.
So suddenly he is copping media scrutiny. The kid glove treatment he has previously been afforded as some sort of genial tree-loving uncle has ended.
Yet, instead of accepting that robust coverage is part and parcel of his newfound influence, and the duty of a free press, he falls to the instinctive position of the despot.
Shut down the opposition, muzzle public opinion and regulate, regulate, regulate.
Last week he called for a “watchdog” on journalists, bemoaning a “narrow range of media opinion” and the fact “there is no licensing or independent oversight of major newspapers”.
Even the Prime Minister responded by saying she was open to the idea of an inquiry into the media, although her Attorney-General Robert McClelland later clarified: “There’ll be no suggestion of the government regulating the media”.
Illiberal opportunists such as Brown have seized on the UK phone hacking scandal to try to smear newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch in Australia, including this one, which vigorously subject government policies to uncomfortable scrutiny.
Rather than holding government to account, they want the media to be cheerleaders presenting a rosy picture to the populace.
But you don’t have to go very far back in history to see where such an approach leads. In the Great Leap Forward famine of 1958-61 in Communist China, for instance, an estimated 23 million people died - one of the biggest tragedies in recorded history.
The famine was so severe because China did not have a free press, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Professor Amartya Sen.
News that might embarrass the government was never reported, so information which would have alerted people to the developing famine was suppressed.
“What was lacking when the famine threatened China was a political system of adversarial journalism and opposition,” wrote Sen. “Not only was the world ignorant of the terrible state of affairs in China, even the population itself did not know about the extent of the national calamity.”
Bob Brown might think the carbon tax is a great leap forward but most Australians don’t agree, and it’s their right to hear both sides of the argument, whether he likes it or not.
The Greens like the power - they don’t like the public accountability which comes with it. Hooray that we are finally seeing some of that being held to account, becuase we have to rely on the media to do that.
In Britain the media holds the government to account fearlessly - we don’t see too much of that here. Few journalists have the guts to tell it like it is like Miranda and Piers. One of the most recent exposures in Britain was of the widespread rorting amongst politicians of parliamentary expenses, which resulted in an inquiry, resignations, prosecutions and even jailings. Yet I did not hear any politicans here demanding the same kind of scrutiny of politicians as in Britain as they are now for the same media scrutiny. Here in NSW we have had two inquiries by the ICAC which have found rorting, but they only resulted initially from whistleblower reporting, certainly not from any vigorous media campaigning.
On the subject of which, from today’s ST, how is it that our State Government cannot forcibly get rid of surplus public servants when it has no trouble whatsoever getting rid of those pesky whistleblowers?
Unless we die, Whistleblowers don’t disappear. The issue of Hamidur Rahman has not yet been addressed. Fair call for Barry O’Farrell, his party has listened to me and he has not yet had time to act. But I think it will be important for the party’s continued success that they do so before I die. Or they will not not be able to maintain their momentum.
There are not enough significant conservative journalists in Australia. The industry weeds out a lot, and places the rest into positions of compromise in which they must espouse leftwing views to get ahead. The ones that are writing are very good and respected worldwide. There aren’t enough of them. I am told there is one journalist for the ABC in Western Australia who is known to have conservative leanings. I think that fact alone speaks volumes about our troubles.
I don’t think it is worth trying to satisfy everyone. It is expected for people to complain and I have no problem that some complain bitterly. Sometimes I make unwitting mistakes and it needs to be brought to my attention. Sometimes I make a bad judgement call. Sometimes I am right and need to explain myself better.
The problem with Brown and his supporters is that they don’t listen. They have their opinions, and they are rarely informed opinions, and they gum up administration with bad policy. But that has always been the case. Brown’s politics over the Franklyn Dam were appalling and the result abysmal, so that very few dams have been built since and the Bradfield Project was stymied.
His supporters might not know it, because they don’t listen either, but all of this has been noted before. But it is glaringly obvious now because of the abysmal ALP who are blaming the Greens for their own bad policy. They haven’t listened but now they have to explain why their heroes look so bad when what they say now is little different to what they said before.
It isn’t only a carbon tax.
The winding back of the Pacific solution was stupid, tragic and predictable. But it was Green policy before they had power.
The tragedy of roofing insulation was similarly Green policy before they had power.
We have long known of the Green hatred for Israel. It isn’t a good look and a good reason to despise the fringe, but some are attracted to such.
The problem is not the policy. The problem is not the support. The problem is the need to explain why the policy and the support is so bad.
Miranda Devine – Saturday, July 16, 11 (05:38 pm)
WHEN Australia’s farming sector was under threat from a rabbit plague in 1950, the CSIRO released the myxomatosis virus, which wiped out the population within two years.
The world’s first successful biological control of a mammal pest saved the wool and meat industries and reduced rabbit numbers from 600 million to 100 million.
In those days it was regarded as one of CSIRO’s greatest triumphs.
Today it would probably be called genocide. That is, if animal rights activists, the Greens and government bureaucracies allowed it to go ahead at all.
There is something frightening about the politicisation of our public service bodies whenever the ALP is in power. Scientists embrace the Global Warming Fad. Teachers fail to teach their students topics they are employed to teach. Police don’t look at the ethnicity of those they police. Judges don’t go by written guidelines of the law.
I remember taking an issue before Legal Aide once. I have Aboriginal ancestry, but because I didn’t have Aboriginal culture they wouldn’t help me. It didn’t have anything to do with my race.
As the ALP have shown before, this issue is serious, and could shut down the industry. If it put a halt to gambling I am confident we would have the ear of the PM.
Yes let me see....
Man induced climate change or ...bats. Mmmm where is the CSIRO when you need them. Well I guess their with the rest of the scientific community, around the world, trying to save the planet from distruction, which I guess to them is a higher priority by just a little bit.
Year after year, I’ve watched over the last ten, deniers hold on to some slim hope that their denial of climate change will just make it go away. When in reality the opposite is the truth. Ten years ago conservatives were in complete denial (some still are). In 07’ Howard introduced an ETS policy, now Abbott admitts reluctantly that he was wrong and that climate change ..."is influenced by man”. Incrementally boarding the climate change bandwagon. Europe and New Zealand are steeming ahead, China and India are doing what they can, with newables and building lower Co2 power stations ... while still developing of course. Climate change policy is stalled in the US by conservatives who have won the senate… much to the detrement of the US economy which is already on the skids… from 8yrs of the Bush administration, that turned a blind eye to bad debt and who allowed Freddy and Fanny to expand their lending by $440 billion i his last term… But of course, to conservatives… it’s all Obama’s fault. You know the guy who was a non US citizen, muslim and friend of terrorist Osama bin Liner.
I’m just wondering how much egg on the face, of opinion reporters, who are ideologically driven ...can they take. Before they are smothered by a Great Big Frittata. That’s a sought of omelette… to the non latte drinkers.
Because you claim to be fair and balanced I must point out that Bush pointed out the Fannie May/Freddie Mac thing in his campaigning for office and (I understand) in his first inaugural address but his economic program was sidelined by the war effort. He was a gifted President and even as a lame duck was able to make substantial change addressing the issue when it arose.
Mr Howard’s ETS policy has been explained by Mr Howard, and you, as a fair and balanced person should acknowledge that.
Europe and NZ are busy repealing the worst aspects of their efforts. US is too, and isn’t implementing it federally. Canada has elected a majority government that won’t go near it. China and India are burning ahead with coal.
I am glad you acknowledge that Obama, who promised civilian trials for detainees, assassinated Osama instead of allowing him to speak about Obama connections.
DD, best just to ignore this brain dead imbicile formerly known as the bull shite artist Livid. Everything that comes from this irrational unintelligent woman is just bile, hatred and poison.
And talk about poison, this thing is just too brainwashed and stupid to see the important issues of bats flying around carrying fatal diseases. But oh no, lets juts go back to this garbage about global warming and what will happen in 1000 years if we do not tax the air we breath.
Fair and balalnced alright, fair price for the cap and balanced mix of water for the spoon.
More complete denial from you DD…
Dear Mr. Sirota:
A friend just sent to me a link to your 2006 essay in the Huffington Post accusing journalist John Stossel of being “a pathological liar.” Your marquee evidence in support of this harsh accusation is Mr. Stossel’s claim that “people on the margins lose jobs when minimum wages go up.” You combine your own personal astonishment that anyone could possibly say such a “ludicrous” thing with a mention of two empirical studies – one being the famous work by economists David Card and Alan Krueger – to conclude that only a pathological liar would assert that minimum-wage legislation destroys some jobs.
I presume, then, that your epistemology leads you to conclude that the author of the following paragraph, written in 1998, is also a pathological liar:
“So what are the effects of increasing minimum wages? Any Econ 101 student can tell you the answer: The higher wage reduces the quantity of labor demanded, and hence leads to unemployment. This theoretical prediction has, however, been hard to confirm with actual data. Indeed, much-cited studies by two well-regarded labor economists, David Card and Alan Krueger, find that where there have been more or less controlled experiments, for example when New Jersey raised minimum wages but Pennsylvania did not, the effects of the increase on employment have been negligible or even positive. Exactly what to make of this result is a source of great dispute. Card and Krueger offered some complex theoretical rationales, but most of their colleagues are unconvinced; the centrist view is probably that minimum wages ‘do,’ in fact, reduce employment, but that the effects are small and swamped by other forces.”
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
Today’s Wall Street Journal exposes the lie that is the so-called “Social Security Trust Fund” – and further reveals the disgraceful flippancy with which politicians and their go-fers mislead the public about it. Here’s a slice:
President Obama famously played to grandma’s Social Security fears this week, saying in an interview about the debt-ceiling talks that “I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3 if we haven’t resolved this issue because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.”
To which a friend of ours replied, whatever happened to the trust fund?
That’s the fund that, according to our politicians, is holding all those Social Security taxes that workers pay. Why can’t Congress or Mr. Obama dip into that $2.6 trillion cash hoard to pay benefits until this debt-limit business gets sorted out? After all, as White House budget director Jack Lew put it in a February USA Today op-ed, “Social Security benefits are entirely self-financing.”
Not quite. As everyone in Washington knows, the trust fund contains not cash but IOUs. Payroll taxes don’t go to some vault in Fort Knox, and they certainly aren’t invested. When Social Security runs a surplus, Congress spends the money immediately on something else and then the government claims its owes a debt to itself. Where the money will come from to pay these IOUs is anybody’s guess—though Mr. Obama is hoping it will be higher taxes.
Trust fund balances only exist in “a bookkeeping sense,” as Bill Clinton’s budget director put it in 1999.
Ignoring the question of whether or not failure to raise Uncle Sam’s current statutorily set debt ceiling will oblige him to default on paying creditors (or, what is a different thing, to reduce his spending), clearly and unquestionably fraudulent (or inexcusably reckless) are the many claims made over the years that the bonds in the Social Security ‘trust fund’ are real wealth held by the Social Security Administration, thus protecting it and its beneficiaries from any fiscal problems that might beset Uncle Sam.
An I.O.U. that you write to yourself and that you yourself hold might be a useful accounting device, but it is not wealth. Unfortunately, many politicians and bureaucrats enamored with Social Security lie (the word is not too strong) repeatedly about the nature of these bonds and what they imply about the solvency of Social Security.
Here’s more of what Pres. Obama’s Director of OMB, Jacob “Jack” Lew, wrote this past Spring in the pages of USA Today about the ‘trust fund’:
Social Security benefits are entirely self-financing. They are paid for with payroll taxes collected from workers and their employers throughout their careers. These taxes are placed in a trust fund dedicated to paying benefits owed to current and future beneficiaries.
When more taxes are collected than are needed to pay benefits, funds are converted to Treasury bonds — backed with the full faith and credit of the U.S. government — and are held in reserve for when revenue collected is not enough to pay the benefits due. We have just as much obligation to pay back those bonds with interest as we do to any other bondholders. The trust fund is the backbone of an important compact: that a lifetime of work will ensure dignity in retirement.
Mr. Lew is either a liar or he is incompetent at understanding even the most basic tasks and features of bookkeeping, finance, and clear thinking. His own boss earlier this week inadvertently gave strong evidence to this effect.
Tim Blair – Sunday, July 17, 11 (01:19 pm)
Academics detect those most vulnerable to climate fright:
This study indicates that the public is becoming increasingly concerned about climate change and that there is a relationship between this concern and symptoms that are indicative of depression, anxiety and stress. The results indicate that an individual is more likely to be distressed about climate change if they are female, under the age of 35 years, have a pro-environmental orientation, and possess personality traits such as high levels of future anxiety.
Additionally, the same researchers write of …
… “an increase in climate-related obsessive compulsive checking behaviors such as checking: gas and power meters to monitor their usage; taps for leaking water; and petrol consumption via the car’s odometer reading.” In fact, they report that displays of climate change related obsessive and depressive behaviors has led to the creation of the term ”carborexia," which “refers to individuals who have a fanatical desire to reduce their personal carbon footprint, to the point where it severely affects their lifestyle and normal daily activities.”
A further term is required, describing comfy non-anxious types who nevertheless have a fanatical desire to reduce the carbon footprint of others.
(Via Mystery Meat)
Tim Blair – Sunday, July 17, 11 (12:57 pm)
Tim Blair – Saturday, July 16, 11 (08:36 pm)
An intriguing document from July 2000 – when Wayne Swan opposed new taxes.
Tim Blair – Saturday, July 16, 11 (08:14 pm)
Tony Wright visits Rob Oakeshott, an outsider for re-election and an outsider in his own electorate:
Many of Mr Oakeshott’s former supporters deserted him on the day last year when he took almost 20 minutes to say he would support Julia Gillard’s minority government, according to a number of Port Macquarie residents who spoke to The Age ...
There was, one Port Macquarie woman said, an audible and memorable gasp when shoppers who had gathered around TVs in the town’s stores that day heard their local member, once a National MP in the NSW state parliament, declare his allegiance to a Labor government. It had all been downhill for him in Lyne since then, and since he cemented his support for the carbon tax, letter-writers to the local newspaper have taken to calling him “One-shot” Oakeshott and “Hotshot” Oakeshott.
Oakeshott, however, has a different explanation for his sudden unpopularity:
Mr Oakeshott said yesterday he recognised there was still an “unease” about his decision to support the Gillard government. He also believed there was a broader problem: ”Australians are still struggling to come to terms with the fact that they have a female leader — that’s something we all have to reflect on.”
Stupid sexist hicks. No wonder they don’t love the carbon tax. While we reflect on that, also reflect on Oakeshott’s curious understanding of betrayal:
“I don’t want to fall on my own sword, but I don’t want to betray my electorate by going against my best judgment, and I won’t.”
You’re in the house of representatives, son. Look the word up.
Andrew Bolt – Sunday, July 17, 11 (09:41 am)
Andrew Bolt – Sunday, July 17, 11 (12:04 am)
In the responses to my column yesterday, reader Mark says:
Andrew, I spoke to our local federal MP about a different matter to the carbon tax, however being the Liberal minded person I am I had to mention it. She is a sitting Labor federal MP. And she said to me, off the record that the carbon tax is the craziest idea her government has ever come up with, she added, I don’t why they are going ahead with it, I can’t understand their logic. Then she said, there are many who are quietly objecting to it however there was not a lot she could do. I will not mention her name publicly as that would be terrible for her as she is a good person, and she worked hard to get elected and was better than the Liberal candidate they put up in the area. So one thing for certain Labor is not united in this crazy scheme.
Mark W of QLD
All Right Already isn’t so sure about the goodness of such an MP:
No, she is not “a good person”. Any elected representative who publicly supports an irrational policy though privately considering it crazy (whether from motives of party-solidarity or tribalism or for any other reason) or who publicly condones incompetent government whilst privately condemning it or who “worked hard to get elected” but, once elected, fails to represent electors is not a good person.[T]here was not a lot she could do[.]
On the contrary, she could, for a start, say publicly what she thinks.
In Queensland (supposing Mark W. of Queensland was speaking of a local MP in Queensland) only two of the Labor MHRs are female: Mrs Yvette D’Ath (representing Petrie) and Ms Kirsten Livermore (of Capricornia). I have written to both these representatives, and I shall report any response I receive.
Andrew Bolt – Sunday, July 17, 11 (12:04 am)
What the hell are unions doing to protect their workers from the pointless madness, none of which will lower temperatures by a flicker?:
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard met with anxious workers of Australia’s dirtiest power generator today, which will be closed under the new carbon tax.
Hazelwood power station, in Morwell, is one of the Government’s targeted closures as it has said 2000 megawatts of the nation’s dirtiest power generators will shut by 2020.
The PM talked with up to 60 workers assuring them there was a future in electricity in the Latrobe Valley…
Hazelwood worker Gary Sevenson said he was apprehensive that the PM promised nothing.
``She has just basically said she was not going to leave us in the lurch but she has given us no idea of how she is going to accomplish that,” Mr Sevenson.
The station, which provides about 25 percent of the state’s power supply, directly employs 540 people and at least another 300 contractors.
Ms Gillard said she could not answer questions on how many jobs would be lost or how much funding would be received during the transition to cleaner energy sources, while the tender process was being undertaken.
But here comes the union, seeming to represent the Government to the workers, not the workers to the Government:
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union organiser Steve Dodd said workers were happy Ms Gillard finally visited the valley.
If they were that damn happy, why did Julia Gillard keep the TV cameras away from her meeting with the workers? The only reason: to avoid another ugly confrontation being beamed to the nation.
No wonder the meeting was closed to the media:
In an event closed to the media, Ms Gillard met 120 workers at the Hazelwood power station. She took questions on her plan to shut down 2000 megawatts of energy from coal-fired power stations and replace it with cleaner energy generation.
You weren’t allowed to see Gillard meeting real workers, because Labor would perfer you to see “real Australians” it’s got in its advertising:
PRO-CARBON tax television ads to be unleashed on Australia tonight are part of a $25 million taxpayer-funded campaign to win over the public as the Gillard government struggles to explain its message....
Note also how seamlessly a deceitful government slogan - “a clean-energy future” - is adopted and repeated by the journalist?
(Thanks to reader Ruth.)
Andrew Bolt – Sunday, July 17, 11 (12:02 am)
For an informed and substantial discussion, join Lord Nigel Lawson and five other distinguished guests at the Spectator Australia debate on Wednesday 3 August at Tattersalls Club, 181 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, between 6 p.m. and 8.30 p.m.
NO to a carbon tax:
• Lord Nigel Lawson, former British Conservative Chancellor and author of An Appeal to Reason
• Ian Plimer, geologist at University of Adelaide and author of Heaven & Earth
• Gary Johns, associate professor at the Australian Catholic University and former federal Labor minister
YES to a carbon tax:
• John Hewson, chairman of GSA and former federal Liberal leader
• Benjamin McNeil, senior fellow at the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales
• Mark Latham, Spectator Australia columnist and former federal Labor leader
(Spectator debate link fixed. Post bumped.)
Andrew Bolt – Sunday, July 17, 11 (12:02 am)
I said yesterday that Julia Gillard could be gone by mid-September. I now suspect it could be much sooner. I’ll say why on today’s show.
I think the tears must stop,too:
Australian politics lecturer, Dr Jo Coughlan, said she believed Australian women had helped Ms Gillard become prime minister and so their support tended to be holding up against men…
Dr Coughlan said the tears Ms Gillard displayed at her Press Club appearance on Thursday would not help regain the confidence of her supporters at a time when Australians felt uncertain of their future.
”Among the people that are concerned about her, standing up on the verge of tears would not have strengthened their resolve that she can get them through their financial woes, the carbon tax and all the other stuff that people are worried about. Paul Keating would not have stood there are cried - it is clear she is feeling the pressure,” she said.
No one wants a leader they’re sorry for.
On Thursday, the PM told Australia’s most cynical political journalists that she was shy. The post-Press Club luncheon headlines were predictable: ‘’Gillard’s ‘Shy Girl’ Plea For Understanding’’, ‘’Gillard Confesses She’s A Shy Girl’’. Whether it was a strategy for gaining sympathy and political advantage, or a simple statement of fact (or both), it was a mistake…
On the negative side, shyness is linked with self-consciousness, self-pity, emotional withdrawal, social awkwardness and a lack of assertiveness. Shy people are often thought to be unwilling to ‘’make an effort’’ or to be ‘’team players’’ at work. Shyness is perceived as a form of weakness… Publicly ascribing these qualities to one’s own personality rarely wins friends or influences people…
Many would find it hard to believe that someone who has become the first Australian female PM could be timid… So, by tacitly ascribing any of these stereotypical shy attributes to herself, positive or negative, she risks being perceived as ‘’Ju-liar’’ again, only this time we’ll assume she’s lying about her own personality.
Commentators are already joking about ‘’the real real Julia Gillard’’, and one Age correspondent described her as ‘’looking like a woman trying to get out of a speeding fine’’. If she’s not directly lying, then at best she appears to be trying to make excuses for her failings…
The shy Prime Minister sought our understanding, perhaps our pity. I fear she is more likely to have lost our respect.